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News: Hefty fine after buy to let owner fails to comply with Improvement Notice

Tue, 05 Feb 19

A landlord who failed to comply with orders to improve the standard of a property has had to pay over £7,500 in fines and court costs.

Brian Searle has been found guilty by magistrates in Peterborough of failing to comply with two Improvement Notices served by the council and ordering him to carry out extensive remedial work to a semi-detached house in the town.

Searle, of Peterborough, was fined a total of £2,500 for the offences, ordered to pay full council costs of £4,896.12 and a victim surcharge of £170, bringing the total amount to £7,566.12.

The council was alerted to the property in October 2016 following a licence application under its Selective Licensing scheme. The initiative was introduced to improve property standards by requiring landlords who privately rent out properties in designated areas to obtain a licence.

A full condition inspection was carried out in January 2017 by the council, which identified serious disrepair, a lack of modernisation and no proper heating system in place.

The authority claims that building materials, tools and personal possessions were strewn throughout the house, making movement and access difficult without the risk of injury or a fall. The property was also without a fire alarm, despite many combustible materials being littered around. Combustible materials were stacked against rear entrance doors, compromising escape in the event of a fire.

At the time of the inspection the property was occupied by a single adult male who was known to have ill health and limited mobility.

The council served Improvement Notices on Searle in June 2017 which required remedial works to be completed by August 2017.

Searle exercised his right of appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal in June 2017 and a date set for a hearing was scheduled for September 2017. At the hearing, the RPT upheld the Improvement notices but varied the date for compliance to January 9 2019.

The court heard that Searle had failed to comply with the Improvement Notices by the revised date set by the RPT.

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